22 January 1992 – Mark Hopkinson

The alleged mastermind behind a murder and a bombing was put to death on this day in 1992.

The first execution in Wyoming since the ’60s was set aside for Mark Hopkinson. He was convicted of murdering a lawyer and his family after he lost a court case over water rights.

Heated water dispute

Vincent Vehar, Beverly Vehar and John Vehar were blown to bits after a bomb was planted at their home. This was a revenge attack after the Hopkinson family took on another family and a water board over water supplies. They lost on both counts to Vincent Vehar who was the attorney for both sets of opposition.

The plot thickens

Fair means had failed. So Hopkinson turned to foul methods to exact his revenge. And his plot included Jeffrey Green among others. Together they explored explosive ways to get back at the lawyer. But Green got caught with a bomb while speeding in his car.

Hopkinson bailed him out, but that act immediately linked the murderer to Green. So when the Vehar’s house blew up and the net started closing in, the police turned to Green for information. He folded and confessed what he knew. As a result, Hopkinson was apprehended.

Green would have been the prosecution’s star witness, had he lived to see Hopkinson’s trial. But he mysteriously disappeared, apparently on orders from Hopkinson, who was banged up at the time. Green’s carved-up body was found just two days before the Vehar inquiry opened.

With the circumstantial evidence and monies that changed hands following Green’s death, the jury found Hopkinson guilty. He was sentenced to be executed by lethal injection and, so far, the 42-year-old remains the only person to have been subject to the death penalty in Wyoming, since the 1960s.

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5 Responses to “22 January 1992 – Mark Hopkinson”

  1. Tellie Says:

    This is not fair. He never committed these crimes. In order to have the death sentence put on you, you have to actually commit the death, not just plan it.

    • Tellie,
      What do you do with the man who ordered the murders? Mark was our first suspect! he was executed under conspiracy laws enacted in 1958 to allow states to proscuite organized crime leaders who ordered the deaths of other people for whatever lame reason they could think up. Mark, a convicted DRUG dealer, was such a coweredly leader. This man ordered 5 deaths that were completed. One from Federal prison in Lompok prison in California. A very sick manipulator, who ordered deaths not someone deserving to live in our free society.

  2. P.S. I was the Bomb tech who marked locations and carried inocent bodies from the Vehar bomb site, I took photos of all people at the scene watching the rescue/investigation eary that morning. Two of Mark’s employees/bombers were in those photos watching1

  3. Chuck Amsler Says:

    This is a tragic story. I was friends with John, the son that was killed. His mom taught Sunday school at my church, and I admired his dad. I lived one block away from the Verhar’s and was awoken by the explosion. All the killings related to Mark were done for senseless reasons. RIP Vince, Beverly and John.

  4. Jim Dean Says:

    Larry, I lived right around the corner on Summit Street when the Vehar House blew up-John was just ahead of me in school.
    I couldn’t sleep. There was a flash and the house shook. I thought the well out by the gravel pit had blown, but I saw nothing when I looked out.

    Then I saw a car going south on 12th street stop and turn around, so I went out the back and down the alley. That’s when I saw what had happened to their house. It looked like someone had picked it up and turned it inside out.

    Tellie, for my money, Mark Hopkinson was nothing but evil walking. Everything he touched he poisoned. He used what he knew about the others to coerce them into doing this. Without Mark, None of this would have happened.

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